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  1. Nightmare85's Avatar
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    #1

    Small question about this double negative

    Hello,
    I'm currently thinking about this sentence:
    Let's say someone asks you:
    "Don't you like him?"
    And your 2nd answer would be:
    "I hate him!"
    How should I write the 1st answer?
    Something like:
    "I do not not like him..." - seems strange
    Or:
    "It's not that I don't like him, I hate him!" - sound a bit better to me.

    How would you write such a sentence?

    Cheers!

  2. kfredson's Avatar

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
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    #2

    Re: Small question about this double negative

    Double Negative:
    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    Hello,
    I'm currently thinking about this sentence:
    Let's say someone asks you:
    "Don't you like him?"
    And your 2nd answer would be:
    "I hate him!"
    How should I write the 1st answer?
    Something like:
    "I do not not like him..." - seems strange
    It's fine, but more often you would say, "No, I don't like him."
    Or:
    "It's not that I don't like him, I hate him!" - sound(s) a bit better to me.
    Yes, that's fine. (The sentence, not the emotion. )

    How would you write such a sentence?

    Cheers!

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Small question about this double negative

    I don't understand this. Clearly, if you hate him, you don't like him. Why would you deny not liking him?

    Don't you like him?
    No! In fact, I hate him!
    or maybe: No, not only do I not even like him, I hate him!
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. kfredson's Avatar

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    #4

    Re: Small question about this double negative

    You're right. I misread it and missed the double negative...

  5. Nightmare85's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Small question about this double negative

    Thank you!

    @Barb_D:
    I understand your question.
    In my opinion, not liking and hating is a difference.
    Wouldn't there be an opposition if you write this:
    Question: "Don't you like him?"
    Answer: "No, I don't like him, I hate him!"
    And that's the reason why I want to put the 2nd not.
    To deny the liking in order to emphasize the hating.

    But I like your examples (the way you wrote the sentences).

    @
    kfredson:
    What did you miss?
    Explain please...

    Cheers!

  6. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Small question about this double negative

    Hi Nightmare,
    Think of a continuum.
    Love - like a lot - like - don't care - dislike - really dislike - hate

    If you feel any of the first three, it's fair to say you like him.
    If you feel any of the others -- including "hate him" -- you can say you don't like him.

    If it's not necessary to tell the person just how far away on this continuum you are from "liking" you can just say "No, I don't like him." There is no contradiction to saying that you don't like someone, even if your negative feelings are much stronger than simply "not liking" him.

    If it's important that the person know that "not liking" him is too mild, then you can emphasize that "not liking"him isn't strong enough.

    A: I am in the process of creating our class teams. You like Tom, right?
    B, who just doesn't care: No, I don't like him particularly, but I don't dislike him either. I mean, you don't be doing me a favor by putting me on his team, but I won't be upset if you do.
    You, who hates him: No! I don't like him at all! In fact, I hate him! (Please don't put me on his team.)

    Consider the reverse:
    A: I am in the process of creating our class teams. You don't like Tom, do you?
    B, who just doesn't care: No, I don't like him particularly, but I don't dislike him either. I mean, you don't be doing me a favor by putting me on his team, but I won't be upset if you do. (Same answer - she doesn't care)
    You, who hates him: No, I don't. fact, I hate him! (Please don't put me on his team.)
    C, who likes Tom: No, I don't not like him. In fact, he's my friend. -- Here, the denial of "not liking" means she does like him.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  7. Nightmare85's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Small question about this double negative

    Thank you for your very nice reply!

    Hmm I searched these forums for double negative a while ago, but anyway I have a question:
    Would you say that nowadays it's not common to use double negatives?
    Years ago, I always wondered about this sentence:
    I don't need no dreams when I'm by your side.
    (Michael Jackson - Baby Be Mine).

    One teacher told me that it's normal in English to use double negatives (same as in Russian - as example.), but maybe it's because of the lyrics.

    Cheers!

  8. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Small question about this double negative

    I don't need no dreams when I'm by your side.

    This is not good English, although you will hear it in some songs and in some dialects. The correct form is "I don't need any..."

  9. RonBee's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Small question about this double negative

    Unless I was spoiling for a fight I would not be so bold as to tell a person who has spoken English all her life that she doesn't speak good English. Some people use double negatives rarely. Others use them frequently. We all learned our language from the people we grew up around.

    ("Not never" and "not ever" mean the same thing.)


  10. lauralie2's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Small question about this double negative

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    I don't need no dreams when I'm by your side.

    This is not good English, although you will hear it in some songs and in some dialects. The correct form is "I don't need any..."
    Maybe in the United Kingdom it's not good English, but in the good 'ol USA, it's our kind of English. Please speak for yourself and not for the world!

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